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Red Wines

Red grapes are believed to be older than white grapes, which scientists suspect evolved as a DNA mutation of white grapes. The main difference between red and white winemaking is skin contact; by leaving the grape skins on during the fermentation, red wines absorb both colour and tannin from the skins. This is why red wines have the capacity to age for much longer than white wines, with the colour and tannin acting as preserving agents. Whereas acidity tends to be the most polarising element in white wines, tannin tends to be so in red wines.

Those red grapes with thicker skins and deeper colour typically produce wines of fuller body and with higher levels of tannin than those with thinner skins. Of course, winemaking plays a crucial role here, too, with oak offering additional wood tannin, and whole cluster fermentation contributing additional tannin from the seeds and stems. These methods allow some thin-skinned grapes like the Pinot Noir grape of the most coveted Burgundy Grand Crus to have long aging capacity rivalling that of their more naturally tannic brethren.